maybe it’s me, but…

… I think there might be something wrong with my eye sight.

Either that or the same fucking stock photos are getting used over and over… and over again.

Seriously, if you are a reader don’t you somethimes think ‘well, I’ve already read that book’ and skip over it when you’re browsing the virtual shelves?

And authors – be honest – don’t you get pissed about this or do you just suck it up because there isn’t anything you can really do about it??

About Kris

Reads, rants, randoms & R+s. You've been warned. BTW, don't follow me if you're a GLBTQQphobic wanker. It won't end well. For you.
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45 Responses to maybe it’s me, but…

  1. Tam says:

    Wow, three. That's pretty bad. Cover designers should be doing some kind of search to see if its been used. I noticed in the bad book covers thing at Wave's someone posted that the girl getting chomped on is exactly the same as a book available at Amazon.

    I can live with it if its the same model but in a different pose although I still tend to associate him with the first character I related to his picture, but I can deal. But the EXACT same picture as you showed is just kind of lazy to me. It won't stop me from buying the book, but it does give me a chance for a snort and an eye-roll.

  2. lisabea says:

    Yeah, it's a problem, but there's not much that can be done when using the free stock. It keeps the cost down. I went through at least 2000 pictures last night looking for something decent as a sample–and let me tell you, pickings are slim.

  3. K. Z. Snow says:

    This is a frustrating and embarrassing situation for authors, believe me. But it's also understandable. As LB said, the pickin's are slim.

    All publishers, and e-pubs in particular, are working under significant constraints when it comes to cover art. Few can afford to hire professional models (I know it costs a pretty penny to get Nathan out from under my desk, for example) and do special photo shoots for book covers. Hell, even using the models' existing photos probably costs a small fortune.

    I just had a little go-round with a publisher about the importance of of at least having the same people appear on series or sequel covers. Readers do pay attention. If the character Boomer LaMancha looked one way on the cover of Book 1, he'd better look the same on subsequent covers. Either that, or go with headless torsos or a scenic or abstract graphic that has no recognizable human beings in it.

  4. Oh, God, I think that would be both tragic and confusing for an author. I've seen a few of these stock photos popping up on 2 or 3 different books and it looks so generic. I think in that situation, I might be tempted to go ahead and spend out of my own pocket to get a real artist to do a unique cover for me — and then hope I could talk the publisher into using it.

  5. lisabea says:

    I totally want to use that beach picture now though!

    Heh. That would be funny.

    Or maybe it's me.

  6. Matthew says:

    Well, Kris, you just discovered a new way of making money. Hire a bunch of models, take hundreds of photos and sell it! I'm pretty sure it would be worth it. Oh, and money too. ๐Ÿ˜›

  7. would be so much better if the guys in the jeans weren't wearing them.
    Can you imagine that cover? Naked buns on the beach!

  8. Lori says:

    Heh KB is all about the s.e.x. But seriously, that is an awesome photo.

    It is a shame. Sometimes they'll at least change the colors, but on that beach one there's no way to do that.

    And LB, if you wrote a book w/that cover, I'd be all over it. (even w/o that cover, of course…, but just sayin')

  9. Tam says:

    Well, if anyone writes an m/m/m/m/m/m/m maybe they can use the picture from this postcard that my friend send me from San Diego today. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Sarah says:

    I really like the Cooper Davis cover. Nice layout, definitely the best out of the three!

  11. Lily says:

    Lol, I thought the same thing this morning when I saw Boys of Summer.

  12. Sean Kennedy says:

    In all honesty, yes, it's that hard. Royalty photos are expensive if you don't have the budget for them – the reasons those photos get used over and over again are because they're part of the cheaper range.

    I've been dead lucky, though, so far, with my novel covers. And Dash and Dingo is getting a commissioned art piece for a cover, so we're zinging off the walls with that!

  13. Sean Kennedy says:

    And I really need some more egotistical friends, because I've tried approaching them with being cover models if I take photos of them… and they all react with horror.

  14. Ingrid says:

    Sean I can't see anything wrong with taking a few pictures?? *g*

    Kris it get's more disturbing when they use same model for m/m books and m/f.

    That boys on the beach picture is used here too.

  15. Matthew says:

    Sean, you really should put YOURSELF on the cover.

  16. Sean Kennedy says:

    Ingrid, I told them I would go for the headless torso look, but even that scared them. Perhaps more so. It wasn't like I was saying I would ACTUALLY chop their heads off.

    Matthew, it would have to be the 'me' that Kris keeps advertising.

  17. Kris says:

    Tam: I'm pretty sure I've seen more covers using the second image, but couldn't recall their titles or authors offhand. There's also the couple on the picnic blanket in the meadow and the couple kissing at the edge of the jetty.

    You raise a really interesting point about having associations (other than KZ's fantasies) with a certain model or image. I think it begs a follow up question which I will post tomorrow.

    LB: 2000?? Holy Shit! I figured that part of the problem would be the stock, especially when it comes to what's within that available resources and what's actually available in terms of m/m.

    Maybe it is you… smart arse. I say go for the beach scene but give 'em jean cut offs or a a different colour (like pink) maybe. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    K Z, who's fantasies about Nathan never fail to amaze me: “This is a frustrating and embarrassing situation for authors, believe me.” I can only imagine. I know I was being very facetious, but I think if I was an author I would be extraordinarily upset, especially if your book came out at the same time as another with exactly the same cover as was the case for two of the beach boys.

    Hell yes, readers pay attention if the characters look different from cover to cover in a series. The response is bad enough when the image is different from the description in the book! To think that the character/book cover might change (without some sort of tragic accident as an explanation)… EEK! Major fallout.

  18. Kris says:

    Val: I'm with you. I would be pretty upset, especially, as I was saying to K Z, if some of the books came out at the same time.

    Do you know if publishers accept artwork that an author has commissioned themselves?? That would be interesting to find out.

    Matthew: You volunteering?? My specialty is in sourcing some images for Sirk so if you're talking bookcovers for the werekanga genre I'm definitely your girl. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    KB: LOL. Sounds like a story in itself. *ponders* If the story was paranormal they could prob'ly whack a tatt on their backs. *g*

    Lori: Yep, she is. I reckon they should start using the image for futuristic romance. Make the skin purple, the jeans silver, the sand blue, the ocean pink and sky green, and you'll have a winner for sure. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Tam: That postcard is scary.

    Sarah: Yeah. The artist has done something almost paint-like with the image and also made it lighter and added a tatt armband to one of the guys. Obviously some effort has been made with the image and it shows in the overall quality.

  19. Kris says:

    Lily: So not just me this time. LOL.

    Sean: Do the authors have to pay for the images? Or is it the cover artists or the publisher?

    You've been bloody lucky cos you've had the awesome Catt on your side. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Your friends don't want to be famearse, headless and perved on. How weird of them.

    Ingrid: “Kris it get's more disturbing when they use same model for m/m books and m/f.” OMFG YES! I did a post about this ages ago (when noone was reading me or maybe Jen was and that was it ๐Ÿ™‚ ): It always freaked me out cos my initial reaction was 'but he's gay!'.

    Matthew: I agree cos he (despite his denial) looks so cute in blue.

  20. Matthew says:

    Sean: That twinkie-in-a-blue-mesh thing? Uh… No, I don't think so.

    Kris: Honestly, I'm so not suitable for covers… Not even for werekanga series. Maybe a werebear, but definitely not a kanga…

  21. Kris says:

    Sean: Ignore Matthew.

    Matthew: As in koala bear??

    BTW (and extremely off topic) have you read a YA called “Thinking Straight”. I just finished it this morning and need to talk to someone about it, ie you (if you've read it).

  22. Jenre says:

    That beach scene does come up a lot. It's so distinctive that it stands out every time so is easy to spot.

    I do feel a bit sorry for authors who have the same stock photos used on their covers but I also understand that money is an issue. It doesn't bother me too much as long as I don't see the faces of the cover models. It does get a bit confusing when you can see faces and they are associated in my mind with a character from another book.

    Sean: I can't believe you asked you friends to be cover models. I can just imagine some of the responses you may have gained from that question!

  23. Matthew says:

    Kris: Koala is NOT a bear.
    I haven't read that book. YA is on my TBR list on a very low position – if there is any YA at all. Probably the last one I've read was Perry Moore's Hero.

  24. Kris says:

    Jen: “It does get a bit confusing when you can see faces and they are associated in my mind with a character from another book.” That's the exact point that Tam made and I think is a really interesting and important one because it's associated with reader response. It's also related to a question that I want to throw out there on this issue tomorrow. Oooh, how mysterious. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Matthew: *rolls eyes* Oh, alright. How about 'as cuddly as'??

    Damn. I was relying on you. BTW, didn't you read and rec “Call Me By Your Name” ? That's YA too, right?

  25. Matthew says:

    You got the wrong man, lady, that wasn't me. ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. Kris says:

    Well, bloody hell, not only does my memory suck, but I can't blame you if I don't like it! Poo. *pouts*

  27. Ingrid says:

    These posts shows the importance of bookcovers.

    It is really disturbing sometimes.

  28. Kris says:

    I'm gonna assume you mean the book covers and the value placed on them, Ingrid, and not my posts.

    I've got a couple of more posts re: bookcovers coming up over the next few days too, so you're prob'ly going to be even more disturbed. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  29. Ingrid says:

    I am NOT looking forward to that.

    Luckily I wont be here tomorrow because I will go to the beach. It will be seriously hot for dutch standards so it is the only place to be.

  30. orannia says:

    I didn't realise the free stock photos were so limited. It's kind of a frying pan to fire scenario, isn't it? Keeping costs down versus keeping eagle-eyed readers happy.

    I know it costs a pretty penny to get Nathan out from under my desk, for example.

    LOL K.Z.! I wondered where he was hiding ๐Ÿ™‚

    KB – please don't give my ideas ๐Ÿ™‚ I'm going to go to bed now seeing that cover with the models walkking away from me stripping off their jeans…such a shame *grin*

  31. Ingrid says:

    Nathan has been under KZยดs desk for so long that his knees are probably worn down.

  32. Tam says:

    Kris, it was Wave who recommended Call me By Your Name on her block recently. The one in Italy right?

  33. Clare London says:

    Ah now, me and covers, *there's* a couple of stories…

    I've had one cover withdrawn a couple of days before release because we found it was too close to another author's – and she was using the pic for a series, too.

    I've just had a cover agreed where I now see the same guy on another cover, though with a different publisher. (that author sells way more than I do, so I'm hanging on to that one in the hope I get dragged along on her coat-tails *mwahaha*).

    It's happened in the opposite direction too, several of the guys on my covers have turned up on other people's, though usually in a different composition, rather than these exact matches.

    That Cat Grant++ pic is on one of my Clare London banners, too! *ulp*

    It's all to do with cost and accessibility. I don't know why there isn't more choice of pictures out there so we *don't* all tread on each other's toes, but then I know nothing about commercial photography. I suspect it's far more than just finding a good model and taking some pix.

    Though don't tell that to all those cute boys I keep pursuing with my snappy camera…

  34. There can totally be a vampire series on the beach. They are beach bums who live under a huge coconut tree that blocks out the sun's rays.
    They wear chaps and nothing else. They fight the evil jellyfish that smells like baby powder.

  35. K. Z. Snow says:

    What fantasies about Nathan?

  36. Tam says:

    Oh yeah KB, that's a story.

    Clare: I maybe should spin it to my daughter that we can make money off those random cute guys I want her to take pics of. She informs me its creepy, but if you're sitting on the sidewalk there is no expectation of privacy is there? Is not like they are in their bedroom naked. Right? Come on, help me out here people. ๐Ÿ™‚

  37. That's really annoying to me. If I had read one of those books and saw the cover in a book store on another book I would probably pass it by thinking I already read it. I imagine the authors wouldn't be too happy either.


  38. Kris says:

    Ingrid: Don't be a party pooper. BTW, I don't think it's only Nathan's knees that are worn. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Orannia: Yep, it's definitely a damned if you do scenario.

    Tam: I remember Wave's review, but someone else talked about it here first. I'm sure of it.

    Clare, coat-tail surfer extraordinaire: LOL. I can just see you chasing pretties down the street with camera in hand.

    It's interesting that the stocks are so limited. Maybe I'm being naive, but I would've thought that the increase in m/m books may have seen people taking advantage of that by filling the niche in the market. *shrugs*

  39. Kris says:

    KB: Chaps and nothing else?? Well, I guess because they're vampires there cute buns won't get burnt. I like the jelly fish idea, but the baby powder?? I don;t know I think it will never take off.

    K Z: Of course, I meant realities. Silly me.

    Tam: Sorry, hun, but anyone who gets their teenage daughter to help her photograph random pretties is a perve. It is a good method tho. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    MsM: “If I had read one of those books and saw the cover in a book store on another book I would probably pass it by thinking I already read it.”

    Exactly! When I saw the first one at ARe, I thought I'd read it already. Then I hit the next page and saw the same image again and thought 'whoa'. The very next page! If I was either of the authors I would be pissed.

  40. Tracy says:

    I can't imagine this is easy for authors. They want something that appeals to them as well as the greater audience but it seems those are used multiple times. Hence this post. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Lisabea – honey…when you write the beach scene book let me know. Aren't you writing about prep school? That beach scene def. won't work. lol

    Sean – your friends say no? Just silly. Especially if you say you won't use their faces. Silly men.

  41. The baby powder is in honor of the Lessers, the evil villains in JR Wards BDB series. The jellyfish and those baddies have the same color.

  42. Kris says:

    Tracy: For all my taking the piss, I can;t imagine it would be easy at all for the authors.

    KB: I know. I was failing to be funny. ๐Ÿ™‚ I never understood the baby powder thing. I mean I get the Lessers having a smell that is easy to track, but why baby powder. Do you think it was meant to take a smell that you associate with innocence and make it bad?

  43. Take away that not so fresh feeling perhaps?

  44. Ingrid says:

    On the GLBT bookshelf site was a posting about pictures.
    I think it was a Lee Rowan post. On of the posters mentioned a few sites and sources that had tons of free pictures one could use for book covers.

  45. Kris says:

    KB: Perhaps she hung around too many goths who used baby powder to make 'em look pale??

    Ingrid: Thanks for the reference! Maybe that's the site that LB was talking about early on.

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